My esteemed colleague Rick Bonnell picks the Lakers to beat the Celtics today in the 2010 NBA Finals.
I respectfully disagree. I think Boston is going to edge its way to victory in a classic series between the NBA's two most storied franchises, much like the Celtics did in 2008 when they also faced the Lakers in the final.
There's no doubt the Lakers have the single best player in the series in Kobe Bryant, but I like the Celtics' core more than the Lakers (who won the 2009 title). When it's time to get a key rebound, I like Kevin Garnett's chances of grabbing it over Pau Gasol. The Celtics, I think, have one more title left in that "Big 4" core of Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo -- assuming Rondo can hit a few jump shots.
I admit that part of my reasoning in this comes from a Charlotte Bobcats lens. Every time I see the Lakers in person, the Bobcats are frustrating them -- either winning or almost winning. The Celtics, on the other hand, usually destroy the Bobcats -- and they beat an Orlando team in the playoffs that dismantled Charlotte in a four-game sweep.
It's just a feeling, but any team that can beat both LeBron James and Dwight Howard in the same playoffs isn't going to be intimidated by Kobe. Give me Boston in 7.